Congo, Republic of the Medical Travel Information

Medical Facilities and Health Information Medical facilities are extremely limited. Some medicines are in short supply, particularly in rural areas. Travelers should carry their own supply of properly-labeled medications. The Embassy’s Consular Section maintains a list of clinics in Brazzaville and Pointe Noire. This list is provided as a service for U.S. citizens residing in or visiting the Republic of the Congo, and in no way constitutes an endorsement or recommendation of any particular facility.

Disease Outbreaks: Mosquito borne illnesses are a major problem throughout the country and prevention of bites and proper immunizations are important for all areas. Travelers should carry and use mosquito repellents containing DEET or picaridin and sleep under insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets if possible. A yellow fever outbreak in western portions of the country started in December 2012 leading to an immunization program for citizens. All visitors should have documentation of yellow fever vaccination within ten years. Chikungunya, another mosquito borne virus, appeared in June 2011. There is no immunization or treatment for this disease, which causes fever, headaches, and severe joint pain. Again, prevention of mosquito bites is most important.

Hepatitis A and typhoid are very common in the Republic of the Congo; all travelers should be immunized. Because of an ongoing measles outbreak, you should be immunized (or have had measles). Rabies is not uncommon; travelers staying in rural settings, especially for long periods, should be immunized before arriving. Although currently controlled, polio outbreaks have occurred in recent years. Travelers should be immunized before arrival.

Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease that is highly prevalent in cities and rural areas throughout the country in all seasons of the year. If you will be visiting the Republic of the Congo, you will need to discuss with your doctor the best ways for you to avoid getting sick with malaria. A combination of strategies should be taken to diminish the chance of developing malaria and other mosquito-borne illnesses such as chikungunya and yellow fever:

Taking a prescription antimalarial drug,
Using insect repellent and wearing long pants and sleeves to prevent mosquito bites, and
Sleeping in air-conditioned or well-screened rooms and/or using bed nets.

All of the following antimalarial drugs are equal options for preventing malaria in the Republic of the Congo: Atovaquone-proguanil (Malarone®), doxycycline, or mefloquine. Chloroquine is NOT an effective antimalarial drug in the Republic of the Congo and should not be taken to prevent malaria in this region. The CDC provides additional information on malaria protective measures.

If you become ill with a fever or flu-like illness while traveling in the Republic of the Congo, and for up to one year after returning home, you should seek prompt medical attention and tell the physician you have traveled into a malarial area and what antimalarials you have been taking.

African trypanosomiasis is transmitted by the bite of the tsetse fly and is primarily found along the Congo River in the regions of Bouenza (including Loudima, Nkayi, and Madingou), Pool, Plateau (including Gambona), and Cuvette (including along the Likouala and Sangha rivers). Conventional insect repellents (DEET and permethrin) are ineffective against the tsetse fly. Wear light-colored, (not blue, which attracts tsetse flies) heavyweight clothing.

Loiasis, a filarial infection transmitted by large tabanid flies (Deer or Mango Fly), is highly endemic in forested areas. Exposure of longer than just a week or two is generally required for infection. Daytime insect precautions are recommended. Onchocerciasis, another filarial infection which is transmitted by black flies, is highly endemic. Exposure of longer than just a week or two is generally required for infection. Daytime insect precautions are recommended, especially near the shores of rivers.

Schistosomiasis is caused by a parasitic worm and is endemic in the Republic of the Congo. The larval stage of the worm burrows through the skin when in contact with contaminated fresh water. Avoid wading, swimming, bathing, or washing in, or drinking from bodies of fresh water such as canals, lakes, rivers, streams, or springs.

There is a very high incidence of diarrheal diseases throughout the country including in luxury hotels in major cities. Travelers can protect themselves by following good hygiene and safe food preparation. These include scrupulous washing of hands under running water, especially before food preparation and eating, thorough cooking of food, boiling or treatment of drinking water, and use of sanitary facilities. Above all, be very careful with food (especially raw vegetables and leafy salads) and water, including ice.

Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in the Republic of the Congo.
Drinking Water Source - percent of rural population improved 38.8%
Drinking Water Source - percent of total population unimproved 24.7%
Drinking Water Source - percent of urban population improved 95.7%
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 3.4%
Hospital Bed Density - beds/1,000 population 1.6
People Living with HIV/AIDS 77,000
Physicians Density - physicians/1,000 population .1
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of total population unimproved 85.4%
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of urban population improved 19.6%
Sanitation Facitlity Access - percent of rural population improved 5.6%
Major Infectious Diseases - degree of risk very high
Animal Contact Disease (s) rabies
Food or Waterborne Disease (s) bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
Vectorborne Disease (s) malaria and dengue fever
Water contact disease (s) schistosomiasis

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You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, health requirements and that you possess the appropriate travel documents. Information provided is subject to change without notice. One should confirm content prior to traveling from other reliable sources. Information published on this website may contain errors. You travel at your own risk and no warranties or guarantees are provided by us.

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